Modelling multidimensional wave propagation effects in geotechnical site response analysis by incorporating physics-based ground motion simulations and soil heterogeneity. (2021)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
The overarching goal of this dissertation is to improve predictive capabilities of geotechnical seismic site response analyses by incorporating additional salient physical phenomena that influence site effects. Specifically, multidimensional wave-propagation effects that are neglected in conventional 1D site response analyses are incorporated by: (1) combining results of 3D regional-scale simulations with 1D nonlinear wave-propagation site response analysis, and (2) modelling soil heterogeneity in 2D site response analyses using spatially-correlated random fields to perturb soil properties.
A method to combine results from 3D hybrid physics-based ground motion simulations with site-specific nonlinear site response analyses was developed. The 3D simulations capture 3D ground motion phenomena on a regional scale, while the 1D nonlinear site response, which is informed by detailed site-specific soil characterization data, can capture site effects more rigorously. Simulations of 11 moderate-to-large earthquakes from the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) at 20 strong motion stations (SMS) were used to validate simulations with observed ground motions. The predictions were compared to those from an empirically-based ground motion model (GMM), and from 3D simulations with simplified VS30- based site effects modelling. By comparing all predictions to observations at seismic recording stations, it was found that the 3D physics-based simulations can predict ground motions with comparable bias and uncertainty as the GMM, albeit, with significantly lower bias at long periods. Additionally, the explicit modelling of nonlinear site-response improves predictions significantly compared to the simplified VS30-based approach for soft-soil or atypical sites that exhibit exceptionally strong site effects.
A method to account for the spatial variability of soils and wave scattering in 2D site response analyses was developed and validated against a database of vertical array sites in California. The inputs required to run the 2D analyses are nominally the same as those required for 1D analyses (except for spatial correlation parameters), enabling easier adoption in practice. The first step was to create the platform and workflow, and to perform a sensitivity study involving 5,400 2D model realizations to investigate the influence of random field input parameters on wave scattering and site response. Boundary conditions were carefully assessed to understand their effect on the modelled response and select appropriate assumptions for use on a 2D model with lateral heterogeneities. Multiple ground-motion intensity measures (IMs) were analyzed to quantify the influence from random field input parameters and boundary conditions. It was found that this method is capable of scattering seismic waves and creating spatially-varying ground motions at the ground surface. The redistribution of ground-motion energy across wider frequency bands, and the scattering attenuation of high-frequency waves in 2D analyses, resemble features observed in empirical transfer functions (ETFs) computed in other studies.
The developed 2D method was subsequently extended to more complicated multi-layer soil profiles and applied to a database of 21 vertical array sites in California to test its appropriate- ness for future predictions. Again, different boundary condition and input motion assumptions were explored to extend the method to the in-situ conditions of a vertical array (with a sensor embedded in the soil). ETFs were compared to theoretical transfer functions (TTFs) from conventional 1D analyses and 2D analyses with heterogeneity. Residuals of transfer-function- based IMs, and IMs of surface ground motions, were also used as validation metrics. The spatial variability of transfer-function-based IMs was estimated from 2D models and compared to the event-to-event variability from ETFs. This method was found capable of significantly improving predictions of median ETF amplification factors, especially for sites that display higher event-to-event variability. For sites that are well represented by 1D methods, the 2D approach can underpredict amplification factors at higher modes, suggesting that the level of heterogeneity may be over-represented by the 2D random field models used in this study.
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de la Torre, Christopher; Bradley, Brendon (2018)Background This study examines the performance of site response analysis via nonlinear total-stress 1D wave-propagation for modelling site effects in physics-based ground motion simulations of the 2010-2011 Canterbury, ...
Bradley, Brendon; de la torre C (2017)This study examines the performance of nonlinear total-stress wave-propagation site response analysis for modelling site effects in physics-based ground motion simulations of the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand ...
de la Torre C; McGann C; Bradley, Brendon (2020)This study incorporates soil heterogeneity into geotechnical site response analysis to model wave scattering and the spatial variability of earthquake ground motion